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Writing-enriched Engineering Courses

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Undergraduate Students' Professional Skills and Reflection

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Abolfazl Amin Utah Valley University

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Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University
M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University
B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University

Engineering Professor at Utah Valley University since 1990.
Instructed Mathematics and Physics as an adjunct at University of Utah and Westminster College.

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Abdennour C. Seibi Utah Valley University

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Dr. Abdennour Seibi, is an Associate Professor at Utah Valley University teaching in Mechanical Engineering Programs. He has an extensive academic and industrial work experience and managed to attract more than 4 million US Dollars of research fund. His research area include the use of finite element analysis to solve engineering problems, experimental/numerical stress analysis, tubular expansion, fatigue and fracture mechanics, composite materials, and failure analysis of engineering materials. He has published over 140 papers and 30 technical reports which earned him an international recognition from ASME and SPE by winning six best student paper awards. In addition, he participated in many committees in international conferences and a reviewer to ASME and SPE journals. He is currently developing an effort to implement engineering standards and codes in the mechanical engineering curriculum.

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Israd Hakim Jaafar Utah Valley University

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Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Utah Valley University. Highly interested in methods to improve engineering education in light of current pandemic. Research interests include novel polymer processing techniques for tuning polymer properties, additive manufacturing, and micromolding.

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This is a work in progress. The importance of communication skills for engineering graduates has always been emphasized by most local industries. The feedback received from hiring managers indicate that engineers spend about 60% of their time at workplace communicating either orally or in written format. Such a report by the industry was taken seriously at our institution, as the need for improvement in reading and writing skills of college students became apparent. The state had already taken a serious step to fund and support STEM and English programs. Improving students’ ability in mathematics, reading, and writing was the motivation for such an action. A program was initiated to support English programs at K-12 levels in the state, but not at higher education institutions. Engineering Initiative program was also established by the state to aid and strengthen STEM programs in schools and colleges. Therefore, in 2017 our university decided to establish an internal task force to investigate the reading and writing across the curriculum issue. A Writing-Enriched (WE) Committee was formed to examine various methods to implement a communication requirement for all programs across campus. After one year of brain storming, it was decided to ask each program to develop and designate two Writing-Enriched (WE) courses. The form of writing and communication exercises were required to be specific to each discipline and to be taught by a skilled instructor.

The objective of this paper is to discuss how such initiative was established, discuss the implementation procedure, and future assessment process. The paper also includes details of the university WE requirements, established criteria, and university approval procedures. Methods to fulfill the new WE graduation requirements in our engineering programs will be discussed. It will include how the two WE courses could complement each other. The paper also discusses the benefits and challenges associated with having a lower-level or introductory course as a WE requirement.

Most programs decided to select courses that already contained or required some writing assignments. Although the measurement of success and assessment for such a graduation requirement are difficult to attain, the WE Committee has begun discussing various methods to accomplish that task. Obviously, such a new graduation requirement will benefit both students and industry. This paper will provide the results of our efforts in choosing two engineering courses specifically in the Mechanical Engineering program of the Engineering Department. It describes how each course was modified to meet the university WE requirements. This paper will also provide some suggestions for future assessments and improvements.

Amin, A., & Seibi, A. C., & Jaafar, I. H. (2021, July), Writing-enriched Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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